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US Army Feb 6, 1945
Justin Taylan 2005
The Villa Verde Trail begins in the foothills near Santa Maria and spans 27 miles along ridge lines to an elevation of 5,000' into the mountains ending near Santa Fe at the junction with Highway 5 (Route 5) in the Cagayan Valley. Named Villa Verde Trail after a Spanish Missionaries who used this walking trail to reach the mountain people in northern Luzon to convert them to Catholicism. The trail was large enough for only foot traffic, horses or mules but not motor vehicles.
Battle of Villa Verde Trail
After the American landing at Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945, the Japanese Army "Shobu Group" defended this location that included the 10th Reconnaissance Regiment and after late January 1945 survivors of the 7th Tank Regiment that withdraw after being defeated at San Manuel. On January 30, 1945 the U. S. Army, 32nd Infantry Division (32nd ID), 127th Infantry Regiment (127th IR) began advanced along the trail but the rough terrain made it impossible for vehicles to support the infantry. To advance inland, the U. S. Army employed local Igorot laborers to carry supplies and evacuate wounded.
By February 23, they had reached the high ground. The Kongo Fortress, located four miles north Imugan was reached in early March. The fortress was the site of a three week battle that resulted in 1,000 Japanese KIA.
Area of steep slopes. Defenders of the 2nd Tank Division used eight removed turrets from their tanks as fixed pillboxes, fighting here until May 24th against American forces, loosing 2,300 from the 2nd Tank Division and 3,400 from other units.
On April 7th American fighters flew 130+ sorties in support of ground forces at Solvec Cove on the Villa Verde Trail.
The 127th Infantry Regiment was relieved by the 128th Infantry Regiment, that continued to fight along the trail until May 28, 1945. The battle lasted 119 days while outnumbered 2:1 and an estimated 8,900 Japanese were killed in the vicinity.
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